Evangeline Parish, Louisiana
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|Evangeline Parish, Louisiana|
Location in the state of Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
|Named for||Acadian heroine of the poem "Evangeline"|
|Largest city||Ville Platte|
|• Total||680 sq mi (1,760 km2)|
|• Land||665 sq mi (1,720 km2)|
|• Water||15 sq mi (40 km2), 2.26%|
|• Density||53/sq mi (21/km²)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
The parish was created out of lands formerly belonging to St. Landry Parish in 1910. The area was originally settled by French,Metis, Choctaw, African slaves and free people of color, German, Spanish, Irish and English people. The majority were French, and former colonial Canadian marines (coureurs de bois) previously from Fort Toulouse, Alabama to Fort Kaskaskia in the Illinois country and including later Napoleonic and 19th-century French and European French-speaking soldier and immigrant families. See Early Pioneer Families of Evangeline Parish, by Evangeline Genealogical & Historical Society under the direction of Winston DeVille) Even former Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), French Creole refugees of surname, Morein, Brunet, and many others settled here. The early generations born in colonial French colonies, which included the enormous Louisiana Territory ('Upper and Lower' Louisiana) was known as "la Nouvelle France" and included this region, then under Spanish rule, and whose citizens were originally called Creoles. This term never denoted 'race' as evidenced in Louisiana courthouse records from both the French and Spanish colonial periods. It was simply a generic term referring to those 'native-born' descendants of primarily French & Spanish descent and was equally applied to any ethnicity born in French & Spanish Colonial Louisiana. (See Wikipedia, "Louisiana Creoles"). Some of the major families included Fontenot, Brignac, Ardoin, Bordelon, Vidrine, LeBas, Coreil, Guillory, LaFleur, Saucier, Catoire, Dupre, Sylvan, Ortego, Rozas, Manuel, Fuselier and Gobert, along with many others. (See Louisiana's French Creole Culinary & Linguistic Traditions: Facts vs. Fiction Before & Since Cajunization, 2013 by John laFleur II, Brian Costello with Dr. Ina Fandrich). The French Creoles had early on developed a metis-culture (French and Indian)that ultimately, involved all of the ethnic groups living in the area long before our historical American period, after 1803. This is very evident in the beautiful patois of Louisiana Creole French still spoken across this region. A few Acadians such as Francois Pitre and his wife had settled the area between Evangeline and St. Landry parishes, preferring the rich pre-American and pre-Civil War era Creole planter's lifestyle over that of the humble and isolated existence of their Acadian Coast cousins. (See The Founding of New Acadia: The Beginnings of Acadian Life in Louisiana, 1765-1803, 1987 by Dr. Carl A. Brasseaux; Building the Devil's Empire: French Colonial New Orleans, 2008 by Dr. Shannon Lee Dawdy along with Dr. Carl Ekberg's studies on Missouri & Illinois metis and French Creole cultures.)
But, Anglo-American outsiders mistakenly labeled all the white French people as Cajuns in 19th century American Louisiana. The parish was named Evangeline in honor of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's narrative poem, Evangeline. Evangeline Parish was immortalized in the Randy Newman song "Louisiana 1927", in which he described the Great Mississippi Flood which covered it with six feet of water. It was from this poem that founding father, Paulin Fontenot was to propose the namesake of "Evangeline" for this parish, allegedly foreseeing an emerging American tourism centered upon the Acadian saga.(See Ville Platte Gazette, Sept. 2010) In 19th-century American literature, she would gain popularity through Hollywood's interest, and thus began the embryonic 'Acadian-based' tourism which sprang up in St. Martinville, but eventually, in the latter part of the 20th century grew to epic proportions out of Lafayette and obfuscated the original historical country French Creole cultural history and identity of this historically French Creole & metis region which had always been an extension of "la Nouvelle France".
Ville Platte, Louisiana, the capitol seat of Evangeline Parish, was itself so named by one of Napoleon Bonaparte's former soldiers, Adjutant Major, Marcellin Garand (1781-1852), of Savoy, France. (See Napoleon's Soldiers In America, by Simone de la Souchere-Delery, 1999).
The parish has a total area of 680 square miles (1,761.2 km2), of which 15 square miles (38.8 km2) (2.26%) is water.
- Interstate 49 (Small Portion)
- U.S. Highway 190 (Small Portion)
- U.S. Highway 167
- Louisiana Highway 10
- Louisiana Highway 13
- Louisiana Highway 29
- Rapides Parish (north)
- Avoyelles Parish (northeast)
- St. Landry Parish (east)
- Acadia Parish (south)
- Allen Parish (west)
||Rapides Parish||Avoyelles Parish|
|Allen Parish||St. Landry Parish|
National protected area
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 33,984 people residing in the parish. 69.0% were White, 28.3% Black or African American, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.0% of some other race and 1.1% of two or more races. 2.3% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 40.0% were of French, French Canadian or Cajun and 9.1% American ancestry.
As of the census of 2000, there were 35,434 people, 12,736 households, and 9,157 families residing in the parish. The population density was 53 people per square mile (21/km²). There were 14,258 housing units at an average density of 22 per square mile (8/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 70.42% White, 28.57% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 0.46% from two or more races. 1.04% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 25.71% reported speaking French or Cajun French at home, the highest percentage of any Louisiana parish.
There were 12,736 households out of which 38.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.30% were married couples living together, 15.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.10% were non-families. 25.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the parish the population was spread out with 29.60% under the age of 18, 9.60% from 18 to 24, 27.60% from 25 to 44, 20.40% from 45 to 64, and 12.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 99.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.10 males.
The median income for a household in the parish was $20,532, and the median income for a family was $27,243. Males had a median income of $30,386 versus $16,793 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $11,432. About 27.20% of families and 32.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.10% of those under age 18 and 31.00% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
- Pine Prairie
- Bayou Chicot
- Turkey Creek
- Ville Platte
- Lone Pine
- Saint Landry
- Belaire Cove
Public Schools in Evangeline Parish are operated by the Evangeline Parish School Board.
Roman Catholic schools include Sacred Heart Elementary (K-8) and Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic High School (9-12), both located in the parish seat of Ville Platte, Louisiana.
Notable Literary & historical personalities
Jules Ashlock, attorney, scholar, Creole cultural activist, founder-editor of the Ville Platte Gazette, international big game hunter. Gene Buller, author, educator and columnist for the Bonnes Nouvelles magazine and activist for Creole cultural preservation. Winston De Ville - noted genealogist and publisher of hundreds of articles and numerous books. Nancy K. Duplechain, young female writer/author of young people's fiction, her books have been a recognized success on Amazon.com Some of her most famous titles include, Dark Bayou (The Dark Trilogy Book 1). Marcellin Garand, adjutant major, and soldier of Napoleon I'st 'Grande Armee' and original resident of Savoy, France. He was the legendary founder of "la Ville Platte, originally an Indian trading post. Here, he operated an inn and post office, which doubled as a 'watering hole' for French soldiers, Indian traders and a variety of Creole trappers which also attracted English, Irish and some Italian families. Eric LaFleur, French educator, lawyer and Senator and sponsor of several important bills and represented historic Senate Resolution # 30. John LaFleur II -Artist, International tour guide and interpreter, and Louisiana French Creole scholar, author, gourmet, linguist, LaFleur is a retired educator of French, Latin, Fine Arts History & Studio Drawing and Speech Communication. His books include the following titles: A Cultural Legacy CREOLE Gourmet Secrets of Louisiana, 2010; Louisiana's French Creole Culinary & Linguistic Traditions: Facts vs. Fiction Before And Since Cajunization, 2013 with Brian Costello & Dr. Ina Fandrich; Speaking In Tongues: Louisiana's French Creole & Acadian Languages Tell Their Own Story; Laissez Les Bontemps Rouler: Commerce, Confusion and The Consequences of Cajun Ethnic Identity, 2014. Organized the revival of the historical ethnic Creole French cultural pride and Creole Families Bastille Day Heritage Festival 2011 to present and authored Senate Resolution # 30, (restoring 'Creole' cultural identity to Evangeline, St. Landry, Pointe Coupee parishes and declaring July 14, historic Bastille Day, Louisiana's multi-ethnic Creole Families heritage festival), sponsored by Senator Eric LaFleur District D, during the 2013 Louisiana Senate Legislative Session. (See A Cultural Legacy CREOLE Gourmet Secrets of Louisiana, 2010 Author Biographies). Walter L. Lee - Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court, 1956-2012 Clint West (Clinton Guillory) - a pioneer of Swamp Pop music; songs include "Big Blue Diamonds" and "Please Mr. Jeweler"; twice inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame; reared in L'anse Grise (Easton area - Gray Point) Jane Fontenot-Vidrine, librarian, scholar co-author of first official A History of Evangeline Parish, 2014. Jennifer Vidrine, Scholar, and first female Afro-Creole mayor of the city of Ville Platte.
- Title: The Cajunization of French Louisiana: Forging a Regional Identity.
Authors: Trepanier, Cecyle Source: 'Geographical Journal'; Jul 91, Vol. 157 Issue 2, p161, 11p, 2 charts, 10 maps
- French, Cajun, Creole, Houma : a primer on francophone Louisiana / Carl A. Brasseaux.
- A history of Evangeline : its land, its men and its women who made it a beautiful place to live, Robert Gahn, Sr. ; edited by Revon John Reed, Sr. Baton Rouge, LA : Claitor's, c 1972
- La Voix des Prairies, Evangeline Genealogical and Historical Society.
- Bonnes Nouvelles : good news about people, places and things in Evangeline Parish. Ville Platte, La. : Bonnes Nouvelles, 1993-
- Fort Toulouse : The French Outpost at the Alabamas on the Coosa, Gregory A. Thomas
- Louisiana's French Creole Culinary & Linguistic Traditions: Facts vs. Fiction Before And Since Cajunization, John laFleur II, Brian Costello w/ Dr. Ina Fandrich 2013
The 1086TH Transportation Company of the 165TH CSS (Combat Service Support) Battalion resides in Ville Platte, Louisiana. This unit belongs to the 139TH RSG (regional support group).
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- "American FactFinder"
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Evangeline Parish School Board
- Evangeline Parish Tourism Commission
- City of Ville Platte
- Evangeline Parish Library
- Pascal Fuselier's articles
- Prairie Creole
- Snead, J., P. V. Heinrich, and R. P. McCulloh, 2002, Ville Platte 30 x 60 minute geologic quadrangle. Louisiana Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.